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STARDUST Status Report

April 21, 1999

The STARDUST spacecraft is currently 32 million kilometers (20 million miles) from the Earth, and traveling at a speed of 108,000 kilometers/hour (67,000 miles/hour) relative to the Sun. The spacecraft has traveled over 213 million kilometers (132 million miles) since its launch on a Delta 2 rocket on February 7, 1999.

There were only minimal communications by the flight team at Lockheed Martin Astronautics (LMA) in Denver with the spacecraft during the past week with the spacecraft continuing to operate very well. The recent communications were principally to monitor the gain variation of the Solid State Power Amplifier (SSPA) as a function of temperature variation. The temperature of the SSPA rises a few degrees when we go to 2-way communications. Work has been proceeding in our Spacecraft Test Laboratory in preparing the commands for next week where we will rotate the spacecraft to face the German-provided Cometary and Interplanetary Dust Analyzer (CIDA) and the University of Chicago-supplied Dust Flux Monitor Instrument (DFMI) into the interstellar dust stream.

For more information on the STARDUST mission - the first ever comet sample return mission - please visit the STARDUST home page:

Last Updated: November 26, 2003
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